The COVID-19 Economic Recovery Taskforce notes the recent projections of the PIOJ for economic contraction of 12% – 14% for the quarter April 2020 – June 2020 as well as the latest updates from the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
All Jamaicans have an interest in Jamaica’s economic recovery and public health safety. These are not mutually exclusive objectives but rather, they are complementary imperatives.
Workers who have lost their jobs, self-employed persons whose livelihoods are at risk, and businesses on the edge all benefit from health measures that keep them safe and from economic activity that provides for their needs.
The path to economic recovery will not be quick, but it should begin now while observing appropriate health protocols. The Covid-19 Economic Recovery Taskforce recognizes that attaining the levels of economic output and employment that we had pre-Covid-19 will take some time to attain once more.
Jamaica is a very open economy. Trade in goods and services account for approximately 80% of GDP. It is therefore impossible for economic recovery to begin without a gradual adjustment to border restrictions.
We therefore recommend the relaxation of COVID-19 related border closure measures. This includes the phased opening of international airports, first to Jamaicans who wish to return, and then to others under “new normal” procedures at all times consistent with public health guidance.
The COVID-19 Economic Recovery Taskforce, established a working group consisting of labour, health and productive sector specialists, which is far advanced in the development of protocols designed to protect the health of the Jamaican worker while allowing that worker to provide for his/her family. These protocols will be published and disseminated within the next week and within the view of the taskforce these protocols will provide the basis for a timely reopening.
In addition, the Ministry of Health has signaled to the Taskforce that it stands ready to work with all other stakeholders to achieve the objectives of economic recovery.
The COVID-19 Economic Recovery Taskforce continues its work to develop policy and other recommendations that provide the best opportunity for Jamaica’s economic and jobs recovery.